Fitness mum apologises for 'normalising unnatural body standards'

Beth Greenfield
Senior Editor
Fit mum Maria Kang has apologised for sharing unrealistic beauty ideals while she had breast implants. Photo: Instagram/Maria Kang

A fitness influencer who has been making waves on social media for years has just offered perhaps her most vulnerable post yet.

It discusses her decision to have her breast implants removed because of breast implant illness symptoms, along with an apology for “unconsciously normalising an unnatural body standard” as a result of her implants.

“I’m sorry,” began Maria Kang’s Tuesday post, addressing her 300,000-plus Facebook followers, as well as her 75,000-plus followers on Instagram.

“I don’t like regrets, but I have a few in life. As I look at my scarred, numb and deflated breasts today, I regret ever thinking they weren’t good enough. I fell into the insecurity trap.”

She continued, “I remember the day I made the decision to augment my breasts clearly. I didn’t research. I never thought about needing or wanting it before. But, when I was told it was something I ‘had’ to do to win — I did it. Without question. A part of me died that day.”

Kang has previously posted on everything from her struggles with eating disorders and her marriage, to becoming a fitness guru through her international network of No Excuse Mom workout groups.

The mother of three’s constant visibility has resulted in her being called everything from a ‘fat-shamer’ and ‘obnoxious’, to an ‘inspiration’ and a ‘role model.’

But this latest post seems to be resonating with her followers in the same empowering, appreciative way across the board.

“You encourage me to never give up and to always appreciate the way I was made,” wrote one Facebook fan. Another chimed in, “I'm with you. Awaiting the day I finish nursing school and can afford to remove mine. Thank you for sharing, you give me hope!”

‘Encouraged to enhance’

Kang chose to have her breast augmentation in 2003, she tells Yahoo Lifestyle, when she was competing in beauty pageants.

“My director encouraged me to enhance, as I was very lean and flat-chested from losing so much body fat. I had just won a national pageant [Miss Philippines USA] and I would be representing the US in a pageant in Manila,” she explains.

“I always dreamed of becoming a fitness model in my 20s, and saw that 80 percent of magazines had a lean model with augmented breasts on their cover. The only difference between my body and theirs were the boobs, and it was ‘the missing link’ for me.”

Rather than the surgery making her happier and more self-confident, Kang explains in her post, “For years after I struggled with binge-eating, bulimia, body dysmorphia and depression. I felt disconnected in the objectification of my body.

“While uncomfortable, it took years to remove them... I became pregnant multiple times, built businesses and traveled often. Those are all Excuses, though. The truth is, I was still scared and insecure. I was stuck in the social media world, where fake physiques are rewarded, ‘liked’ and valued. I feared my husband’s opinion. I liked how I looked in clothes and swimsuits. I was vain. And I own that.”

But eventually, the range of physical symptoms Kang was experiencing — including intense chest pains, heart palpitations and exhaustion so extreme that she could not keep her eyes open during the day — pushed her to investigate the idea of breast implant illness.

She found the popular Facebook support group, Breast Implant Illness and Healing by Nicole, which she says helped her ‘link the dots.’

And then she made the decision to explant — having surgery which removed the implants in June and documenting the journey on social media, including what she calls her “horrific recovery” with “emergency hematoma surgery.”

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